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The Art of Fugue Part VI by Jan Zwicky


I tell K. I am afraid. It’s not easy to admit. I feel the flutter of my heart as I write it. I feel it now, too, days later, remembering.

Arrival of the Birds has been on repeat for about an hour now. I have been listening to all the versions there are, or at least, all that I could find. Echoes of each other, I think. If that’s weird, well, what can you expect out of a person who has thirty-three versions of Moon River? I think I’ve written about this before. Maybe I am echoing myself.

I should make myself known and lean in to the vulnerability, I wrote late into the night, worrying about being a private person and yet still wearing my heart on my sleeve. “You must build a fence around the law,” says the Talmud—says K., who taught me that it is not a bad thing, that it’s necessary. She gave me this poem, a most precious gift.

What I meant to say, when I say that I am afraid, is that I wish I had wings.

from The Art of Fugue, Part VI
Jan Zwicky

Once again, the moment of impossible
transition, the bow, its silent voice
above the string. Let us say
the story goes like this. Let us say
you could start anywhere.
Let us say you took your splintered being
by the hand, and led it
to the centre of a room: starlight
through the floorboards of the soul.
The patterns of your life
repeat themselves until you listen.
Forgive this. Say now
what you have to say.

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This poem appeared in Forge by Jan Zwicky, published Gaspereau Press, 2011. Shared here with profound gratitude.

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